Now that your baby is smiling, sitting, and moving more, the rattles and teethers that were on your baby registry probably do not keep their attention much anymore.
Babies between the ages of 6 to 12 months are beginning to explore and interact with people and their surroundings, like crawling and walking across the living room. New teeth are now beginning to emerge, so you will need durable and safe toys for them to mouth and chew. At this age, you begin to get a little window into their thoughts, watching your baby touch and activate buttons, place blocks into a container, or begin to turn the pages of a cardboard book.
Babies ages 6 to 12 months are on the go, crawling on their belly or on hands and knees, and pulling themselves up to standing at the couch. Some are even standing and beginning to take a few steps on their own before their first birthday. There are many popular, fun, and safe types of toys at this age level.
Fine Motor Skill Toys
Babies love taking toys apart and putting them back together. They also like to "dump and fill" by putting toys in and out of containers over and over again. Look for nesting and stacking cups, as well as soft toys that attach and unattach with velcro. These important toys help babies develop skills like problem solving and fine motor control while they practice over and over again.
Pop-Up Toys and Cause-and-Effect Toys
Babies ages 6 to 12 months love toys that play lights and sounds with the touch of a button. Look for ball poppers, busy boxes, classic toys that children push, and doors that open by twisting or flicking a button to magically reveal a character.
Babies love to bang their toys, so you might as well let their banging be beautiful music. Babies love cause-and-effect musical instruments that create a sound or experience. Some favorites include shakers, maracas, and light-up pianos. By doing a simple action, like touching a button or shaking their hand, they experience success by making sound happen.
Transformable Activity Gym
Infant play mats or activity gyms are usually not utilized any longer when your baby begins to sit on their own and crawl. Some activity gyms have sides that transform these great toys into tunnels or interactive play stations for children who can sit or crawl.
Blocks are great for children ages 6 to 12 months. They are learning to stack them and make them fall over. Consider rubber or soft blocks for children in this age range. They do not have sharp edges and are a safer alternative.
Babies at 10 months are generally pulling themselves up to a standing position at the coffee table or couch. There are many options for sturdy walking toys that include shopping carts and strollers.
Many walking toys in this age range are durable and have great long-term use; most can transform into ride-on toys. They are a good investment, often being passed on to a younger sibling.
Want to take a walk to the park or join in on a family picnic? Wagons are a great alternative to a stroller and include a seatbelt and cup holders for snacks and drinks.
Because children in this age range still love to place items in their mouths, toys that easily fit in a diaper bag or in the car are a must to entertain them on-the-go or at family events. Fun portable toys include stacking and nesting cups, shape sorters, ring stackers, and push-button toy remotes and smartphones.
Wooden puzzles with large knobs are great first puzzles for kids. Look for puzzles with large handles and only three pieces to push into place. Babies will amaze you as they try to complete shape sorter toys, too.
Heavy-duty board books or cloth books are perfect for this age. Books with paper pages may get ruined since babies often prefer to put books in their mouths. Thicker pages are easier for them to learn how to turn.
Interactive Plush Toys, Soft-Body Dolls, and Stuffed Animals
Babies love to imitate what they see during their day. Soft-bodied dolls and stuffed animals are a perfect size and are made of nice soft textures for younger children as they hug and feed their "babies."
Many children latch onto a lovey or other stuffed animal they enjoy dragging around and sleeping with. Many stuffed animals are also interactive plush toys that can help teach and engage children in singing, dancing, and learning when they touch their hand or foot.
Now that babies can sit up in the tub, look for floating foam toys, boats, and water squirters. Toys for the bath make the bathtub a new play area.
Children will love watching their parents engage them in songs and activities while wearing hand puppets.
A ball is one of the most motivating toys for babies learning to crawl and walk. Babies will love rolling it back and forth as they begin to play a simple game with you. And they often love crawling or attempting to walk across the floor to find and bring back their ball.
If you are at a loss for what to buy or you are overwhelmed with all the choices, consider buying a creative subscription service. For example, Panda Crate delivers an educational toy or activity for children under the age of 24 months. You will get developmentally appropriate activities curated for your child and delivered to your home.
Healey, Aleeya, Mendelsohn, Alan, Council on Early Childhood. Selecting Appropriate Toys for Young Children in the Digital Era. Pediatrics, 143,1,e20183348, doi:10.1542/peds.2018-3348